At the Literature Summer festival John Mullan will try to define the strange contemporary phenomenon of ‘literary fiction’. In the twenty-first century, British literary fiction has been characterised by its formal restiveness. Yet novelists who use narrative trickery that would once have been called experimental also manage to find a wide readership. Why is this? John Mullan will look at the work of living novelists like Ian McEwan, Hilary Mantel and David Mitchell, but will show how much they owe to classic novelists of the past.
His lecture "The Tricks of Contemporary Fiction" will take place at 3 pm on the second stage "Shardam café" in the Muzeon Park of Arts on June, 27, 2015.
The participation is free of charge, registration is required.
John Mullan is Professor of English and Head of the English Department at University College London. He completed his BA and PhD at the University of Cambridge where he was a Research Fellow and Lecturer before moving to UCL in 1994. He has published widely on eighteenth-century literature, including Sentiment and Sociability. The Language of Feeling in the Eighteenth Century (OUP) and Eighteenth-Century Popular Culture. An Anthology (OUP). He has edited several works by Daniel Defoe, most recently A Journal of the Plague Year. He is currently writing a volume of the Oxford English Literary History that will cover the period from 1709 to 1784. His research interests extend to the 19th century: he was General Editor of the Pickering & Chatto series Lives of the Great Romantics by Their Contemporaries and in 2012 he published a book on the fictional techniques of Jane Austen, What Matters in Jane Austen? He has also published How Novels Work (2006), which examines novelistic technique, setting contemporary novels against classics of the past, and Anonymity. A Secret History of English Literature (2007). A regular broadcaster and literary journalist, John Mullan hosts the Guardian Book Club, which examines a new book each month, and appears regularly in literary discussions on BBC radio and television. In 2009 he was one of the judges for the Man Booker Prize.